23 April 2007

Chai Chai Chai, Am Yisrael Chai

With Monday comes Yom HaZikaron, Israel's Memorial Day...

...and with Tuesday comes Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day

Israpundit linked up to a great JPost commentary on the event, titled Still Standing, Still Proud. Some excerpts:

...Hazal [Sages] wrote: ‘The Jewish People is compared to the dust of the ground and to the stars of the sky. When they sink, they sink down to the dust; when they rise, they rise into the stars.’”

This time of year as Independence Day approaches, Gouri’s words always resonate. One of those “Only in Israel” experiences is that incredible combination of sad and happy as the ceremonies for Remembrance Day for fallen soldiers and terror victims fuse back-to-back with the Yom Ha’atzma’ut festivities, this year on April 23.

...As we blow out the Remembrance Day candles and prepare for Independence Day’s fireworks displays, it seems almost natural this year to add the Shehechiyanu blessing, praising God “for keeping us alive, sustaining us and bringing us to this moment.”

For after all, we’ll still here, battle-scarred but not beaten.

Our very existence is worth mentioning as an achievement - if only for the pleasure of annoying our many enemies. The fact that we can celebrate Independence Day at all, albeit wiping away a tear for those who gave their lives and didn’t make it to the country’s 59th birthday, is noteworthy.

...People abroad often forget that most Israelis live ordinary lives worrying about ordinary things: family, health, finances. We argue about politics. And how. But it is a family argument. And at least we aren’t concerned about the neighbors hearing the shouting.

There’s terrorism, but we don’t have to deal with anti-Semitism. Indeed, we’re free to laugh at ourselves with famous Jewish humor and don’t have to worry whether saying things like “famous Jewish humor” is insulting.

...Another year has gone by without our prayers for peace being answered. But despite the prayers of our enemies, we’re still here, not just surviving, but thriving.

And that’s why this Independence Day, as every other, I will hang the blue-and-white flag and raise a glass in that quintessential Jewish toast: “Lehaim - To life!”

Baruch haShem l'Eretz Yisrael! Baruch haShem l'am Yisrael!

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20 April 2007

Little Reminder: Gates (and the US) Is Not G-d

Under the headline Exclusive: IAF to ask US for world's most advanced jets, the Jerusalem Post reports:
[U.S. Defense Secretary Robert] Gates was here for talks with government officials on a range of key strategic issues including American plans - which Israel has objected to - to sell smart bombs to Saudi Arabia.

...On Thursday, Gates tried to ease Israeli concerns about the planned American weapons sale to Saudi Arabia as well as other US Gulf allies, saying that Washington remained committed to preserving Israel's military edge over its neighbors.
How would America go about doing that? By maybe, possibly, sorta, kinda, one day in the near future responding to the Israeli Air Force's interest in the American F-22 stealth fighter jet. Although that interest was not discussed during Gates's visit to Israel this week.
Gates also said his 24-hour trip to Israel did not include any discussions on taking military action against Iran. He reiterated his belief that diplomacy was the best course of action for halting Iran's nuclear program.

...Speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv before his departure, Gates said he had urged Israeli leaders to look at the deal in terms of the "overall strategic environment" and stressed that Israel's neighbors had other alternatives for purchasing arms.

"I'm confident that the Russians would be very happy to sell weapons to countries in the region," he said. Gates said he affirmed the US would continue to help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge, but did not say whether the Saudi deal would go through. Israel is particularly worried about the planned sale of advanced air systems that would vastly upgrade the striking ability of Saudi warplanes, some of which could be stationed just several hundred kilometers from Israeli airspace.
In other words, Gates wants America to get in on the arms sales so they can beat the Russians and the Chinese to the checkout line. Don't fool yourself into thinking that a nice package of diplomatic sway comes as a free gift with every bomb purchase: America is no martyr. Trying to sell high-tech weaponry to the Arabs not only puts money in the bank, it appeases their little minions the world over at Israel's expense. After all, why should America care whether or not the Arabs have the bomb? Washington's not within shooting range, right? Who cares if a few military installations in Iraq and a nation of loyal allies (who also happen to be Jews) die in the process, as long as the fat cats keep their pockets lined and their homes nice and tidy?

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack wins the coveted Quote of the Week Prize with his classic:
"[Israel's military edge] is something that we are dedicated to helping Israel preserve for a number of different reasons - for their defensive needs, for the deterrent nature of that edge, as well as allowing Israel to take calculated risk in the interest of peace.
FYI:"...the State Department on Thursday didn't indicate that the F-22 would be available to help preserve that edge." In fact, there's still heavy debate going on in Congress as to whether or not the F22 will even be made available for sale in the future. Suddenly, we realize that this article isn't about Israel obtaining much-needed weapons technology at all; it's about America playing puppetmaster with Jewnocchio, aka the Olmerde government, whose collective nose is growing longer by the nanosecond.

On a more heartwarming note, "Before leaving Israel, Gates visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, accompanied by Peretz." How nice. He remembered to visit the museum honoring the six million murdered in the name of appeasing terrorists bent on world domination...er, I mean, "taking calculated risks in the interest of peace."

It took the deaths of six million Jews to convince the United Nations to grant a fraction of land to the Jews. How many more have already been murdered in the ongoing battle to retain Israel as our own? How many will die, still, for the right to live as Israelis--as Jews?

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15 April 2007

Yom HaShoah

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03 April 2007

Selling off the Chametz

Pesach in the diaspora. Another year goes by, and I am increasingly reminded of how we Jews are seen by the rest of the world: we are the chametz, the bain of their existence. They would rather lie to entire generations than openly acknowledge this, but we know the truth. There's a reason we end every seder with "Next Year in Jerusalem:" it is the only safe place to call home.

Or, is it? You know what I'd really like to see this Pesach? I'd like to see us sell off our own chametz to the highest bidder, or the lowest bidder for that matter. Take Olmert! Take Livni! Take Peretz, take the Neuteri Karta, take the looney leftists, the peaceniks, and all the wandering Jews who feel the need to spend a day or two in our Palestinian-occupied territory in the name of radical rebellion! Go ahead! And while you're at it, take all that institutionalized guilt that plagues us every time we call ourselves Jews-- consider it our free gift to you!

The chametz you least want is the hardest stuff to give away. But, is that a reason to hold on to it all? Let this be the season, let this be the time when we as a nation give up our chametz once and for all. Let's start putting our sins on the goat and stop scapegoating ourselves. Let's start taking pride in the fact that we are the people of G-d. Let's start believing that miracles really can--and have--happened in our midst. Let us trust in the truth that we repeat to each other every Pesach: that our G-d, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, has delivered us and will deliver us from every sort of slavery we've ever encountered, including the slavery of not trusting and believing in ourselves-- in who He made us to be.

When all of this happens, when my people stand up with pride in our G-d, in each other, and in themselves, then my bread of affliction will become my bread of joy. Then, and only then, will "L'Shana Haba B'Yerushalayim" be a living reality.

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